Benjamin Edward Merrick 1846

Benjamin Edward Merrick 1846

Place of migration:
Migrated to /Born in Canada

When Benjamin Edward Merrick was born on the 5th of June 1846, his father, also named Benjamin, was 21 and his mother, Sarah (nee Jordan) was 24.  He was baptized at St. Coleman’s Cathedral (Protestant), Cloyne, Cork County, Ireland where his grandfather Edward Jordan Esq. was Virger. Edward Jordan Esq. also signed church records with the title of Tidesman and Brie of Bacon (Beacon?).

Benjamin’s paternal grandparents Benjamin and Margaret (nee Redmond) were married at St. Finbarr’s South Church (Catholic) in Cork City. This Benjamin served on Jersey Island with the British 58th Regiment of Foot in the years surrounding 1806. He was not at Waterloo as previously reported.  They had 7 children, Robert K., William Bedford, Ellen Merrick Levis, Anne Merrick Martin, Benjamin, Joseph, and Jeremiah. All migrated to Canada except William Bedford who emigrated to Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia and Benjamin, who died while still in Cloyne. Margaret was known to have lived in Youghal, 15 miles (24 km) distant from Cloyne, for a time after her husband’s death in 1834. It is not confirmed if this Merrick family is related to the Merrick’s who ran a department store in Youghal from 1580-2013.

When Benjamin Edward Merrick was 6 years old his father, who possibly served in the British military like his father before him, died.  Four years later, finding that their once affluent family had become in need of support, Benjamin, his mother and 2 sisters, Matilda and Elizabeth, migrated to Huron County, Ontario, Canada where Benjamin’s uncles and aunts had previously settled.  They rode steerage on the ship, and they brought with them a wind-up clock and 2 wooden chests, one black and one salmon-colored. Benjamin’s widowered uncle Robert K. Merrick and his 12 children made room for them in their rural Canadian log cabin.

Benjamin worked hauling wood as a teenager, and then he learned to paint fine filigree embellishments on farm equipment at McTaggart’s factory in Clinton, Huron County, Ontario, Canada.  He then started painting homes, and this became his life’s work. The family migrated to the United States, first to Bad Axe and then to Bay City, Michigan where his sisters settled with their new found husbands. Benjamin and his mother moved on to the Chicago area, Cook County, Illinois, ever following the rumors of higher paying jobs. 

There Benjamin married Eleanor Westgarth who was from England.  They had 6 children: Elsie M., Roy Cleasby, Harry E., Genevieve Eleanor, Stanley Westgarth, and Kenneth Copithorne.  Benjamin passed on stories of his life in Ireland, and thanks to a noncompliant tutor who, against the parent’s wishes, taught him to speak Gaelic, he could speak Gaelic with other Irish immigrants. Benjamin was very devout studying his protestant faith regularly, although later in life he was said to conclude that Catholicism may be the correct path. As an older man he joined the “On Borrowed Time” club in Oak Park, Illinois.  At a memorial service given by this club for deceased members  in January, 1932, Benjamin’s grandson, Robert Benjamin Merrick, laid a rose on Benjamin’s empty flag draped chair.

Additional Information
Date of Birth 5th Jun 1846  
Date of Death 8th Dec 1931  
Place & Date of Baptism Dublin National Archives, Ireland, Microfilm of the Church of Ireland-Reel 30 Cloyne Parish in Cloyne Diocese.  
Father (First Name/s and Surname) Dublin National Archives, Ireland, Microfilm of the Church of Ireland-Reel 30 Cloyne Parish in Cloyne Diocese.  
Mother (First Name/s and Maiden) Dublin National Archives, Ireland, Microfilm of the Church of Ireland-Reel 30 Cloyne Parish in Cloyne Diocese.  
Names of Siblings Dublin National Archives, Ireland, Microfilm of the Church of Ireland-Reel 30 Cloyne Parish in Cloyne Diocese.  
Place of Death  
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  • The interest in Irish heritage points to surname REDMOND, the Irish bride who married at St Finnbarr's.

    The name MERRICK has a long history in England/Wales, possibly a Norman name. I carry Merrick from early 1700s location counties of London, (St Marylebone) and Middlesex (Heston); the name entering Cornwall via an English bride of a Cornish miner.

    In deed, there is great truth in the old slogan: (They became) "More Irish than the Irish".

    A good account of social history, and with evidence of British Army Service, there are likely records of service available for the family to read.

    Francis O'Hanlon 1825

    Monday 4th May 2020, 12:02AM
  • Hello Frances,

    Thank you for your comments.  I am still working to clarify if my Merrick's were Irish or English in origin.  They certainly were a mishmash of Catholic/Protestant. There was a department store in Youghal, Ireland by the name of Merrick for several hundred years.  It is possible they were originally British businessmen, or the family could have been Irish and anglicized their name to better do business.  My dad's YDNA has yet to reveal the clear roots of his heritage.

    I have researched the military records at the National Archives at Kew, and our Merrick was in a regiment formed of Irishmen.  He served on Jersey Island, and I have amended the above biography to remove the Waterloo service record.  The Benjamin Merrick that served at Waterloo was from an English formed regiment, and he died several years before our Benj Merrick.


    Cyndi Merrick Young



    Thursday 4th June 2020, 05:03PM
  • My Great Grand Aunt Bridget Golden emigrated from Co Mayo to Ontario in 1871. She married George Jasper Merrick and lived in Reach Township Ontario. Her descendants still live today in that general area and in nearby Buffalo NY. George was born in Ontario and his parents were George Merrick and Anna Doble. There is a strong connection between her descendants and military life which may indicate an earlier Merrick army connection. 

    Monday 11th January 2021, 09:37AM

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